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Vox Sentences: What a bat tells us about Ebola

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The Senate shuts down vote to reopen federal government; tracing Ebola’s origins.

The Senate takes 2 doomed votes

Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Two competing bills to reopen the federal government failed to get at least 60 Senate votes today, so the shutdown continues even as Congress shifts more into deal-making mode. [Vox / Tara Golshan]
  • The first bill to fail was President Donald Trump’s offer to reopen the government, provide temporary protection for DACA recipients and some other immigrants, and allocate $5 billion for the wall. The Democratic House supports a different bill that would reopen the government, fund its obligations through February 8, and omit the wall. [The New York Times / Julie Hirschfeld Davis]
  • Why were the bills doomed? GOP senators say even if Congress had passed the House bill to reopen the government next month, Trump would never have signed it. [The Wall Street Journal / Kristina Peterson and Rebecca Ballhaus]
  • The vote was the first motion the Senate has taken on government funding since the shutdown began. House Democrats are reportedly convened today on a new offer for Trump that would allocate $5 billion for border security, but not a wall. [Politico / Marianne Levin and Heather Caygle]
  • Trump is also looking for a new option. One reported idea was to include green cards for 700,000 DACA recipients in the deal. Republicans hope that adding immigration concessions could make Democrats budge. [Axios / Jonathan Swan]
  • Right now, neither the president nor Democrats are able to pass legislation. Democratic Representatives have reiterated they are not willing to negotiate a border security bill until the government is reopened, continuing the stalemate. [Vox / Li Zhou]
  • 800,000 federal workers will miss their second consecutive paycheck this Friday. Costs such as medical payments and mortgages are piling up for furloughed workers and those who have been working for no pay. [Vox / Alexia Fernández Campbell]

Ebola virus resurges, but so does research

  • Health officials in Liberia announced today the deadly Ebola virus was found in a bat species commonly found across Africa. The flying animals — which are commonly eaten — could be carriers of the virus that killed at least 11,000 people in West Africa from 2013 to 2016. [The New York Times / Denise Grady]
  • The discovery comes during the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history; the largest occurred in 2014. Now 680 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo have been infected with the virus, and the disease is headed toward the DRC’s major city of Goma. [Vox / Julia Belluz]
  • Until now, Ebola’s source had been largely unknown — until parts of the virus’s genome were found in the bat’s blood. Researchers can’t officially link the bat to the virus because the study isn’t complete, but the finding was released as Liberian officials urged the need to find a solution and halt the spread. [The New York Times / Denise Grady]
  • It’s unsure whether the virus found in the bat is the same strain which caused the West African outbreak more than five years ago. The bat could have gotten the virus via contact with another species or be carrying a different strain of the virus. [The Washington Post / Lena H. Sun]
  • American and European companies have sent money to support Ebola research, but health workers haven’t received funding in time to both run tests and treat patients. [Nature / Lieselotte Cnops, Birgit De Smet, Placide Mbala-Kingebeni, Johan van Griensven, Steve Ahuka-Mundeke, and Kevin A. Ariën]
  • This is the first time Ebola cases have been detected in an active war zone. North Kivu and Ituri are two provinces in the DRC where fighting among violent groups has threatened health worker responses. [Vox / Julia Belluz]

For a full recap of the current situation, reporter Julia Belluz explains the situation on Today, Explained, Vox’s daily news podcast.



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